Tuscaloosa firefighter describes rescuing 2-year-old boy from apartment fire

Tuscaloosa firefighter describes rescuing 2-year-old boy from apartment fire

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Capt. Marty McElroy saw the picture of himself that's been getting a lot of attention since this weekend.

"Man that ain't fair. You can't be pulling pictures out. You know that gets to me a little bit," McElroy explained Monday.

The picture is of him taking a 2-year-old boy from a burning building at Downing Place Apartments on Saturday.

"I'm a father too, and if that was my child, I can imagine if their life was in someone else's hands," McElroy went on to say.

He thought he heard cries coming from somewhere inside. So after confirming hearing human sounds with another firefighter, McElroy went into the burning apartment again.

"Black smoke, couldn't see anything. Luckily within a very short time, we were able to make contact with that child," McElroy added.

He feared the child was dead when they got outside. "He was limp, almost lifeless, and I really had a bad feeling in my stomach when I felt him," McElroy described.

That stirred bad memories in the pit of his stomach. In 21 years on the job, McElroy says he's pulled people from 5 or 6 fires.

The very first person he rescued and the last one before Saturday all later died.

But this was a new day. "When I got outside and cleared the smoke, I looked down and had these huge brown eyes, and he was just holding his head up looking at me," McElroy said smiling.

The 2-year-old was released from the hospital and McElroy looks forward to meeting the child and his family.

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